Recently, I was a guest poster on the blog To Love a Soldier. It’s a truly wonderful blog, with great resources for military families and where I can empathize with the author’s lifestyle and vice versa. I believe that this vocation is much easier when surrounded with people who can completely understand. But, that’s a blog for another day. Below, is my posting.
As I stood on the brink, in the midst of the boxes, camo bags, groceries and general mess, the reality of it all would grab me in the gut. Fear of living without him, of losing him, of losing connection with him. Anger at him leaving, being so brave, and feeling so insecure. I was terrified at the prospect of not just surviving life without him for a year, but living life without him for a year. Of living life joyfully. Truly, this seemed impossible. Living life without my husband and enjoying it seemed impossible.
But, we are doing it! This morning, I sit here with my cup of coffee, not just content but truly happy. He’s not home, but I have a fantastic husband fighting a fight that not many can. Though she missed her Daddy terribly, I have a beautiful daughter, with whom I’ve been given a chance to bond in a way I wouldn’t have. Together, she and I fight together. Who knew a sixteen month old could bring me such comfort, love, and security? Though it takes longer to clean and keep up, I have a stable home full of fond memories with my husband and our child.
I have realized that happiness doesn’t depend on someone else. Happiness is not my husband, not a clean house, not stability, structure, and schedule. Happiness lies not in a cooked meal set on the table, steaming hot. Happiness does not disappear when the husband leaves, when the daughter struggles to understand why her father vanished.
Happiness lies in you.
Every morning, when my alarm pierces the air, I have a decision to make. I can wallow in self-pity and remain in bed. I can pull the sheets over my head and cry about the empty space next to me. I can be miserable and mourn my husband’s absence.
Or, I can decide to be happy. When my alarm pierces the air, I can choose to be giddy about waking my daughter, get excited about sharing precious and intimate moments shared with her while the early morning sun creeps into the kitchen. I can focus on the sound of the coffee brewing, the dates with friends, the Skype-calls with my husband. I can garner strength from the many prayers being said for our family. I can focus on the structure we’ve carefully and consciously constructed on the Homefront.
No, happiness, I have learned, does not lie in foreign things. We pull the happiness from ourselves, especially as military wives. We choose to reach deep down inside of ourselves, even in the dark moments when we miss the call, appliances begin shutting down, or the R&R gets pushed way back. We decide to reach down, and we pull out the happiness. We shift our perspectives, and force ourselves to focus on what we do have. Because, when we shift that perspective, though initially painful, we are winning our fight.
This morning, I choose to focus on the amazing and heroic courage my husband has in fighting a war far from his family. I choose to focus on how this incredibly difficult lifestyle has not destroyed our relationship but, thank God, has brought us closer. Taught me humility, patience, courage. I choose to focus on having learned incredible flexibility in life’s twists and turns. I choose to revel in our beautiful family, my daughter, the laughs and intimate conversations shared over Skype. I choose to find joy in my daughter still loving her Daddy, even if he is not home right now.
Here, on this Homefront, we are not merely surviving. We are living. Living Joyfully. Because that is what we choose to do.